Pigeon - Columbidae
There are many species and subspecies of birds belonging to the family Columbidae. The terms “Dove” and “Pigeon” are used a lot to describe or name many of the subspecies, but the actual distinction between the two words is unclear and inconsistantly applied between different professions, academia, and cultures.
The species known as the Rock Dove is the most commonly attributed to the name “Pigeon”. The Domestic Pigeon is a subspecies of the Rock Dove, and the majority of pigeons that you will find in urban environments are actually Feral Pigeons of this subspecies.
Feral Pigeons are not aggressive birds, but they are a nuisance pest because of how quickly their populations can grow, their ability to nest almost anywhere with a bit of shelter, and the amount of damage they can cause with their nesting behaviours and their droppings. Pigeons nests often harbour a number of different bird mites & dust mites, fleas, bat bugs. Pigeon droppings can also contain a number of bacteria and parasites that are quite dangerous for humans and pets. Thick collections of droppings can also develop fungus, spores and viruses that can then cause a number of food born illness and other more dangerous ailments among humans and pets. Histoplasmosis, is probably the most dangerous disease spread by pigeon droppings as it can be fatal if left untreated. If you have pigeons nesting or roosting on your property, then it is a good idea to have a professional come in to help get rid of the pigeons as well as perform any clean up needed to make your property safe.
Exclusion is the most effective pest control method to keep pigeons from nesting/roosting on your property. This involves making any areas where the pigeons would try to nest, inaccessible. Exclusion can be accomplished by either closing off the area completely, or by installing common deterrents such as bird spike, bird wire, or bird slope to make the area unusable as a roosting or nesting spot.
Trapping pigeons is another pest control option for controlling pigeon populations. Trapping is most effective in areas where heavy, recurring pigeon activity is present, and exclusion is not possible. Pigeon trapping can reduce large populations over time, and can keep smaller populations under control. Trapping for pigeons is a long-term project with results showing over a period of months or years. Trapping is not recommended for small populations, or as a short-term solution.
There are a couple of other pest control methods for controlling large pigeon populations. These involve the strategic use of chemical drugs mixed into the pigeon’s food supply. There are currently two types of chemical being used to successfully control large pigeon populations. The first acts like a mild hallucinogen which gets mixed into a special food supply, causing a percentage of pigeons to experience ill effects from the food, and convincing the pigeons that the food supply is no good and should be avoided. This method works best when the pigeons have few regular food sources, and where tainting their food source will cause them to move elsewhere. The second chemical acts as a sort of birth control for the birds which can have drastic effects on the population as the older population ages out and there are no new off spring to replace them. Both of these chemical methods require constant monitoring, and are most effective as long-term solutions to large populations.